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The Meaning of Gray
The world in which we live is in a constant state of change, both in the way that we think and the way in which we interact with our environment.  The only way to survive is to be adaptable and flexible to the environment around us.  Individuals who remain rigid or polarized in their views and actions often become overwhelmed or passed over.  It is far better to be neither completely passive nor completely aggressive, neither ultra conservative nor ultra liberal.  To survive in this hurricane of change it is best to be in the middle, where the calmer surroundings provide more opportunity for decision making rather than being driven by the fast moving winds of change.
In the Yin/Yang symbol it shows two complete opposites, black and white, together comprising a complete circle.  Each color represents an opposite of the other, positive and negative, male and female, etc.  To ride a bike you cannot push down on both pedals at the same time and accomplish your objective, you must push one and release the other in order to move, this is the theory of flexibility in practice.  If you are rigid and inadaptable you will jam down on both pedals at once and continue to do so until it conforms to your views.  This, of course, will get you nowhere.  If you just sit on the bike passively neither pushing nor releasing the pedals, you will not reach your objective either.  In either instance no movement towards your goal is possible unless you are pushed along by outside forces, thus giving you no control over your speed or destination, and often results in catastrophe.  It is the blending of the black and white, which allows you to reach your objective, alternating between pushing and releasing.  If you blend these colors together on a palette you obtain the color GRAY.
The study of Otake Han Dōshin Ryu Jujutsu has similarities to that of the practice of law.  At first most of your focus is on learning and memorizing the written law (black and white), later you move onto the application and procedural aspects of the law.  Once these are mastered you try to find the meaning and spirit of the law, learning to read between the lines, the Gray areas.  When you begin your martial arts training you are trying to learn the written down black and white on the pages of required techniques, this establishes the fundamentals.  As you progress you learn and discover new ways to apply these fundamentals, gaining greater technique and ability.  Finally you learn to understand the meaning of these techniques and the principles they are founded on, and learn to read between the Black and White on the pages of required techniques and understand the Gray in between.
Once this level is mastered you discover how endless the possible variations are and how little you know about the martial arts.  This should create a feeling of wonder and humility for the rest of your existence.

Shihan Eric Merrill
Otake Han Dōshin Kai
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